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Posts Tagged ‘masculine cultures

A regular trickle of visitors are looking for information on masculine cultures.  It took me a long time to understand this strange term – “masculine culture.”  So what do I understand it to mean?

What “masculine culture” is not

  • It is not an attack on men. Norway has a feminine culture and there is nothing wrong with their men.
  • It also does not mean non-sexist, or even matrilineal. Much of Africa has a feminine culture but much of Africa is assuredly sexist, patrilineal, or both.

What “masculine culture” is

Masculine cultures are based on pecking order.

We all interested in our status, don’t get me wrong.  It’s just that masculine cultures are obsessed by status.   The jostling and thumping of small boys – you have it in one.

It’s not that boys don’t play together. It’s just they find it hard until they’ve sorted out who is “top dog”. And they put everything second to that goal – compassion, beauty, intelligence . . . it all goes by the board.

You can see that women can also have a masculine culture. It is not the preserve of men. Nor is it always bad. It is just very narrowing when everything comes down to pecking order.

Anyway, why does a positive psychologists working in social media write about masculine cultures?

1.  Masculine cultures aren’t positive.

We can get good at winning a race. But the easiest way to win a race is to rig the competition or some other way cheat. We are on a downward spiral.

When we ask the question another way, and ask how quickly we can run, or how quickly we can get everyone over the line, we find more challenge, on many levels.

Life opens up. That is the essence of positive psychology. Does life open up?

2. Social media is about working with others.

Masculine cultures are about individuals or small groups beating other small groups.

My cultural test of the world of social media

I have my new MOO cards now and I am going to repeat my picture test.

Subscribe to my feed (side right column) because I will post the results as I get them over the next two months.

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Sociologists sometimes write of a masculine culture. Hofstede writes of masculine and feminine cultures.

The ‘prep’ scene in Goodbye Mr Chips illustrates this point. A pupil slams down a books while Mr Chips’ back is turned. This pupil has already challenged Mr Chips successfully on two occasions: mimicking his walk behind his back and disrupting his class spectacularly.

At first, Mr Chips does not know who is making the noise. He cunningly uses the glass of a large picture as a mirror and calls on the boy without giving away how he knows who is the culprit. Then luck would have it that the boy’s name is “collie” and he is able to humiliate the boy by suggesting that is the name of a dog. And so it goes on.

This is a masculine culture. It is based on pecking order, domination and humiliation.

We aren’t being rude about guys. Why should you put up with it either? The story line in Goodbye Mr Chips is that guys were challenging this way of life in 1910, one hundred years ago.

The alternative

If you want the alternative, look at the scene where Mrs Chips challenges the headmaster. The challenge is based on reason, persuasion, and persistence. Not domination and subjugation. The headmaster deftly avoids the challenge. He rejects an unfamiliar idea, which would be alright in its own terms. He rejects it, though, to restore his domination. Later, in the dance scene, being a wise man, he concedes the validity of the new idea (and validates it by including it in the hierarchy!)

Does life has to be a series of battles? Can we not trade visions? Can we not have Eureka moments when we learn something unexpected? Can we not do the equivalent of come up to a crest of a hill and be amazed by the vista in from of us?

If the 21st century will be about anything, it will be about a currency of visions rather than the currency of force.


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